SoCalHoops High School News
High School Team Preview:
Villa Park--(Oct. 11, 1999)
"I love it here, and I have no plans to leave for another job any time soon, especially with all the talent we have here." Villa Park Head Coach Kevin Reynolds
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We caught up with Kevin Reynolds at the Double Pump Fall Premier Tournament where many (but not all) of his players were competing during that tournament this past September. Kevin was sitting in the stands watching, just like the rest of us (which included Russell Otis from Dominguez, Ron Palmer from Long Beach Poly, and a bunch of college coaches), and he was happy with what he was looking at, which was a very young, but extremely talented CIF D-IA team. Villa Park competes in the Century League against teams such as Canyon (Anaheim), El Modena, Foothill, Orange, and Santa Ana Valley during the CIF season, but it's also a school which regularly competes in leagues and tournaments during the summer, spring and fall. Most of the team stayed together and played as a team at the adidas Las Vegas Big Time and at several other large summer tournaments, and most of them were doing it again this past September at the Pump tourney. That togetherness usually pays off for Villa Park, which last year finished second in Century League play with an 8-2 record, 19-8 overall, and they went to the Southern Section playoffs, won in the first round by beating Palm Springs 49-43, but then matched up with Mater Dei, and not much was going to stop the Monarchs in their march to the D-I State Finals against Oakland Fremont (a game which Fremont won, taking the State D-I title for the first time since the Jason Kidd years at Alameda St. Joe's). Mater Dei knocked off Villa Park 64-48, and that was it for the season.
Reynolds is a young coach, and he's only in his 5th year at Villa Park, where he's compiled a 91-25 record, winning 3 league titles. Kevin is originally from the Orange County area and he attended high school at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, where he played; upon graduation, he attended UC Davis, where he also played but was injured, and realized that and he transferred back home to Cal State Fullerton. Upon graduation he first served as an assistant at Servite HS, and then got the job at Villa Park. He is married (recently) and he and his wife have no children (yet). He's already turned down several college jobs, and has no plans to look for another any time soon. "I'm perfectly happy being a high school coach right now. Maybe someday, but not now," Reynolds said. "I'm really excited about our chances this year, and I think we've got as good a chance to win a league title again as anyone in our league."
Here's the roster:
|Austin Beardsley||6'-3" Sr. F|
|Andrew Grant||6'-4" Jr. SG/SF|
|Brett Streadbeck||6'-1" Sr. SG/SF|
|Bryan Arguello||5'-10" Jr. PG|
|Tony Bryant||6'-3" Jr. SG/SF|
|Kyle Egkan||6'-8" Jr. F/C|
|Matt MacGinnis||6'-2" Jr. SG|
|Tommy Stankan||6'-1" Jr. G|
|Eric Tadeja||6'-6" Jr. F|
|Dan Steagall||6'-1" Jr. PG/SG|
|Brice Prather||6'-7" So. F/C|
|Sean Phaler||6'-7" Fr. SF|
|Corey Miller||6'-1" Fr. PG/SG|
Leadership will be something that Reynolds is hoping will develop this season. "We're counting on our young guys too step up and make varsity plays this year," Reynolds said. "The returners will have to take charge and adopt the roles of being "core guys" even though they are juniors this season. The level of responsibility and leadership has increased for them dramatically, and we're also expecting to get good leadership from the seniors who are in their first year of varsity play," Reynolds said. The team has seven returning players, but only two starters, Matt MacGinnis and Kyle Egkan. Other returners include Bryan Arguello, a football top 5 receiver who will come out late, Eric Tadeja, who was honorable mention All-League last year, and Tom Stankan. The top newcomers include Tony Bryant, Corey Miller, Sean Phaler, Brice Prather, Austin Beardsley, and Andrew Grant.
But even if the team is relatively young overall, they've got good size, with 6 players over 6'-4" and three of those over 6'-8". From a strength-weakness point of view, this is a very coachable group, with a strong commitment to be really good, with good team chemistry who play with great intensity; their weaknesses are that same youth which gives them their fire (2 freshmen and 1 soph), the need for a demonstrated team leader this season, and a relatively tough schedule.
This team has good size and speed in the backcourt, including some really good young players we hadn't seen until this fall but who will make an impact this season. Dan Steagall is a quick, solid point with good strength, and Corey Miller, a freshman who has a full goatee beard and looks just a tad older than most other incoming freshmen, is an excellent point guard as well, and we'd expect the two of them to have a pretty interesting duel to see which one will be the starter, at least until Bryan Arguello gets back from football; Miller will be Villa Park's floor general of the future, the only question is whether he's ready to be the floor general of the present. Both Steagall and Miller see the floor well, have good handles, and do what good point guards do which is find the open man, drive when they should and run the break; Steagall is perhaps the better defender and shooter, but Miller might be the better passer between them. Tony Bryant is another good, very athletic player who will also likely start at either the 1 or the 2 from time to time, and he's the kind of player who is equally good in all four directions, with great lateral quickness, he gets up and down the court really quickly and also has great leaping ability with a nice shot. At the off-guard or two spot, there are several others who can play the position, including Tommy Stankan, and Tony Bryant. Tony is a combo 1/2 player, a good athlete who will be expected to do big things, including shoot the ball and occasionally fill in at the point.
In Reynolds' system, Matt MacGinnis, Tommy Stankan, and Andrew Grant, will fill in at the wings. MacGinnis who has become one of the better pure shooters in the Southern Section is likely to get the nod. Matt played for both Villa Park and Rockfish this summer, and he had a very successful spring season in the Rockfish Spring League. More recently, he also played with the Pump N Run II team at the Fall Premier Tournament; whether he'll stay with the Rockfish or play with some other team following the high school season is pretty much on hold for now, because the Villa Park team is competing with other Orange County teams in the Ocean View Fall League, so all of his time is devoted to VP for now. Matt is an excellent catch and release shooter who is also learning to create his own shot off the dribble and coming off screens. He has been rated as among our Best of the Best here at SoCalHoops, and he's also been nationally rated by several other recruiting guys, such as Clark Francis at the HoopScoop, Recruiting USA, and he's also been rated by Pac-West Hoops as the No. 14 SG among west coast shooting guards. Whatever ranking he is assigned, he's an excellent player, athletic, strong and with a great feel for the game and a good, quick high release on his shot. If Matt gets into foul trouble, or Reynolds decides to go with a three guard rotation which involves anyone other than MacGinnis, Miller and Steagall, look for Tommy Stankan off the bench, and of course Arguello as a potential starter in the backcourt (possibly at the wing, but primarily at point) but only after football is over and provided he stays healthy. Stankan is an excellent three-point shooter who is a real engergizer who plays intense defense, and Andrew Grant while really an offensive rebound specialist with a nice 12' jumper who can play either the three or the four position, will probably see more time at the four spot, possibly as a starter, but will often fill in at the wing as will Sean Phaler. Brett Streadbeck and Austin Beardsley will also be two of the seniors who will be expected to step up and make contributions this year.
At the four will probably be Phaler and Tadeja. Phaler can, as noted, play the wing as a face up player, but will also see time at the four, even if he is a bit on the thin side. Eric is an athletic four man, with good skills, excellent legs for the game, and he plays smart; Sean is a young freshman, who has yet to play his first real varsity game, and he's also in need of a couple of years of good strength and weight training in order to really achieve his full potential as a high school player. He's very thin, but lively and can get up and dunk, as he demonstrated at the adidas EBO/EA Hoop Summit this past June where he played with one of the Rockfish teams, getting some valuable experience. Austin Beardsley is also a good athlete, with decent size who will see some time backing up this season at the four spot. At the power forward position, Villa Park will depend on Tadeja and sophomore Brice Prather, who is very talented and fundamentally sound. He's got good strength, quickness, runs the court very well, and gets out ahead of the break; he can post up and has decent footwork with some nice moves in and around the basket, which he displayed most recently at the Fall Hoops Showcase where he played in the Sophomore All-Star game. Also in the post, we'd expect to see Brice and Kyle Egkan, a solid four/five man who also played with the Rockfish teams and traveled with VP's summer team. Kyle is a bit on the thin side, but has been working on bulking up, and he's up to about 205-210 lbs now and at 6'-8" and still room to grow, he's a solid post up power forward, an excellent rebounder with nice moves in and around the basket; he's perhaps not quite as skilled as the top players in the very talented junior class, but he'll make a very solid mid-D-I player at the four position in college; more of a face up than back to the basket player he still manages to get off some nice spin moves and has been working on his drop-step footwork and turn-around jumpers.
In the post, in addition to Phaler and Tadeja, look for Kyle Egkan, a very strong 6'-8" post player, who averaged 8 ppg, 8 rpg, and is being heavily recruited. Like Matt MacGinnis and several other Villa Park players, Kyle has also played for Rockfish and in the Rockfish Spring League. He's tall, lanky and agile, runs the court very well, can get out on the break, but usually as a trailer, dunks, and is a great rebounder. Offensively he has nice footwork, good face up scoring potential, and excellent hands.
Villa Park is currently (as this is written) participating in the Fullerton JC Fall League with other teams from the area, like Fountain Valley, Buena Park, La Habra, Sunny Hills, Loara, El Dorado, Nogales, Cypress, Ayala, Fullerton, La Quinta, and Esperanza, so if you want to see some good action, check out the league on Saturdays and Sundays. The season schedule is exciting, and the team will be in three preseason tournaments, and one in-season exhibition game at the Pyramid this year as a part of the Long Beach Poly-Artesia Classic in early February. Here's the schedule:
|Dec 3||Sonora||Villa Park||7:30 p.m.|
|Dec. 7-11||Los Alamitos Tournament||Los Alamitos||TBA|
|Dec. 14-18||Edison Invitational Tournament||Anaheim Convention Center||TBA|
|Dec. 21||Katella||Katella||7:30 p.m.|
|Dec. 27-31||San Diego National Prep Classic||San Diego||TBA|
|Jan 4||Woodbridge||Villa Park||7:30 p.m|
|Jan 7||Foothill||Villa Park||7:30 p.m|
|Jan 11||El Modena||El Modena||7:30 p.m|
|Jan 14||Orange||Orange||7:30 p.m|
|Jan 18||Canyon||Canyon||7:30 p.m|
|Jan 21||Valley||Villa Park||7:30 p.m|
|Jan 28||Foothill||Foothill||7:30 p.m|
|Feb 1||El Modena||Villa Park||7:30 p.m|
|Feb 4||Orange||Villa Park||7:30 p.m|
|Feb 5||St. John Bosco||Pyramid-LB State||Afternoon Session|
|Feb 8||Canyon||Villa Park||7:30 p.m|
|Feb 11||Valley||Valley||7:30 p.m|
With all the good talent in CIF Division I-A (and in I-AA assuming VP makes it to State), this year, it's going to be very tough for Villa Park, especially powerhouse teams like Mater Dei, Simi Valley, Moreno Valley, Glendora, etc., not to mention league favorites Foothill which is, according to Reynolds, the favorite to win the league title, since they have almost everyone returning, and they are mostly a senior team. But notwithstanding Canyon will be getting a new coach, and lost some key personnel, including Roger Hogan who is back at Servite, they are the dark-horse, and they are still the champs, at least until someone beats them. El Modena is always dangerous, Valley and Orange could also be tough. In short, Reynolds believes every game will be a challenge, and his guys will have to step up to really be competitive.
Asked who he picked as his top teams in Orange County, Reynolds picked Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and Los Al. He picked his own team among the "others", which include Esperanza, Brea, Trabuco Hills, Foothill, San Clemente, Ocean View, Woodbridge, Troy, and El Toro.
While this is a team which could be among the top teams in the region, it's one that probably won't reach it's peak until next season. They will be formidable this year, perhaps not quite deep enough to knock off some of the traditional favorites in the County in their Division, but they may surprise a few; next year, if they can keep the nucleus together, they're going to be one of the teams to beat, possibly for a Southern Section title and on to the State Tournament.
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